NHL officials have always taken their fair share of grief. But lately, ever since some questionable calls in the Winter Classic drew the ire of Rangers head coach John Tortorella, controversy has reigned supreme in the NHL, especially when it comes to disallowed goals.
No officiating system will ever be perfect, regardless of sport. But what if some calls recently are less about the officials' inadequacies and more with the way the NHL has implemented the use of instant replay?
Just like the NFL monitors every touchdown, the league's video review headquarters in Toronto watches every goal. So why is there any rule preventing the eyes in the sky from getting the call right?
With the technology in place in every NHL arena and multiple camera angles that almost always give definitive evidence of what the call should be, there is no excuse why any play involving a goal should be deemed unreviewable. Of course the idea of asking for all plays to be reviewed, such as offsides, icing touchups, may not be feasible, but if the league is unable to take a second look at a goal, regardless of circumstance, the league must oblige in the interest of making the correct ruling.
In each of the last two nights, there has been a goal disallowed by the referee on the ice that was not deemed reviewable by the NHL's War Room in Toronto. In fact one of those goals took place in overtime of a heated contest between Calgary and San Jose.
Sharks defenseman Justin Braun took a drop pass from Jumbo Joe Thornton and fired on net, beating Mikka Kiprusoff for what seemed to be the game-winner. The goal was immediately waved off, however, because it appeared that Tommy Wingels had interfered with Kiprusoff as the shot approached the crease:
As you can clearly see, it was Flames center Olli Jokinen, not Wingels, who bumped Kiprusoff prior to the puck arriving. There was no interference by Wingels or any Sharks player, so in theory, the goal should have stood and the Sharks should have won the game. Luckily for them, they earned the extra point in the shootout just minutes later, but it should never have come to that.
What if the Flames had won that game? Then they're unjustifiably one point closer to that coveted eighth playoff spot in the West they're so vigorously "going for."
Then there was another call last night's Sabres-Blackhawks game. With the Blackhawks leading 4-2 in the final moments of the second period, Chicago rookie Andrew Shaw made an acrobatic play in which he leaped, caught the puck to the left of the Buffalo net and placed it down where eventually Marcus Kruger slammed it into a wide open net:
Even Doc Emerick was expecting to hear "Chelsea Dagger" one more time after referee Tom Kowal's brief conversation with Toronto, as if he hadn't heard it enough already.
Much to his surprise, the play was deemed no goal as Kowal deemed the play dead as a result of a hand pass. The problem? Shaw's stick touched the puck prior to Kruger's, making it theoretically a good goal as per Rule 79.1:
79.1 Hand Pass - A player shall be permitted to stop or “bat” a puck in the air with his open hand, or push it along the ice with his hand, and the play shall not be stopped unless, in the opinion of the Referee, he has directed the puck to a teammate.
However, Kowal blew the play dead as soon as Kruger touched the puck based on a hand pass. If the official is at least in the action of blowing his whistle to stop play because of a hand pass, the play may not be reviewed in Toronto.
The game resumed without even as much as an explanation for the national audience tuning in on NBC Sports Network, but why?
At the very least, the NHL should mandate reasoning for the fans in attendance. Word eventually got out through the Hawks radio station, who confimed the call, but there were still over 20,000 fans on hand who had no clue what the reasoning was. Replays continued to show in the United Center and fans cheered what should've been a good goal. How ugly would this have gotten if it was a tie game in the playoffs?
Take a look at this baseball/soccer-esque goal by the Flyers that was not allowed to stand in a game last season against Tampa Bay. Cool? You bet. Legal? Absolutely not.
Obviously Claude Giroux touches the puck with a high stick and his linemate, James van Riemsdyk, was the next person to touch it. That one's easy, play was stopped as soon as van Riemsdyk made contact with the puck. But what if Giroux's stick, for argument's sake, was much closer to the crossbar than the referee originally thought? Would it really be that much of a hassle to stop play and have Toronto take a look?
If it's worth getting just one more play per year correct, then it's worth it every time, right Sabres fans?
A concept was introduced by Drew Remenda, San Jose's color-commentator, in the aftermath of the disallowed goal that suggested allowing each head coach the chance to risk their timeout by challenging one call per game, also similar to the NFL.
It should never even get that far. The implementation of instant replay has helped referees make the correct calls for years, but it has also been handicapped by those who regulated it's use at all. The time has come for instant replay to make it's presence known on all controversial plays around the net, regardless of situation.
Sorry for the overload on videos today, but here's a clip of the widely talked about brief meeting with the press that team owner James Dolan did following last night's 3-0 win over the Nashville Predators. In his quick speech, Dolan talked about the New York Rangers being "close" to Stanley Cup contenders, to which head coach John Tortorella clearly voiced his...
via Katie Strang of ESPN New York, Rangers owner James Dolan upstaged coach John Tortorella at his post-game press conference, making a rare appearance in front of the media.
Dolan, who seemed giddy following the Rangers’ 3-0 win over the streaking Predators, said he feels the Rangers are “pretty close” to winning the Stanley Cup.
After Dolan dismissed himself following two...
… as you can see, Torts is very disappointed about the loss to Pittsburgh. It also seems the writers are on par with the bloggers asking about Marc Staal and why he is getting so many minutes so soon. He just does not look good and has a TON of rust.
Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien and Rangers' bench boss John Tortorella have been named as coaches for the upcoming NHL All-Star Game.Julien and the rest of the Boston Bruins assistant coaching staff will handle the coaching duties for Zdeno Chara's team. Julien and his staff were bestowed the honor for leading the Bruins to last year's Stanley Cup title.John Tortorella...
… I can’t say it enough, Torts is doing a phenomenal coaching job with the Blueshirts. There 62 points are a HUGE reflection on his coaching. Henrik helped guide the Rangers to this victory with yet another shut out. Nashville is a VERY good team so to get a 3-0 shutout victory shows the NHL [...]
John Tortorella couldn't have been happier with what he saw from his team in Tuesday's 3-0 win over the Nashville Predators at Madison Square Garden. And although the coach wouldn't agree to admit that the New York Rangers are "close" to a Stanley Cup, he still has a lot of pride in his club for their ability to bounce-back from failure.
Another ability Torts...
Some weird happenings after the game …
First, because somebody asked, Dan Girardi got the hat.
Then Jim Dolan—who hadn’t spoken to the hockey writers in probably five or six years—walked into the press conference with John Tortorella, and talked about the direction of the team, and when he started talking about the Stanley Cup, Tortorella stopped him … and after Dolan...
Via New York Rangers ? New York Post
January 19, 2012
Coach John Tortorella may find it absurd to discuss a championship 44 games into a season, as owner James Dolan did following the Rangers’ 3-0 win over Nashville on Tuesday, but Tortorella isn’t angry Dolan said he thinks the team is “pretty close” to capturing its first Stanley Cup...
Via New York Rangers ? New York Post
January 18, 2012
Rangers coach John Tortorella may think it is far too early for owner James Dolan to discuss a championship, as the latter did following the Rangers 3-0 win on Tuesday that put them at an NHL-best 29-11-4, but The Post has learned that Dolan called Tortorella Wednesday morning and they...
After last night's 3-0 win against the Predators, Rangers team owner James Dolan surprised everyone by speaking to the media for the first time since 2003 and said this (via Andrew Gross)..."This is very spur of the moment," Mr. Dolan said. "We were just in the coach's office. I'll answer the questions - chill (this was to Tortorella, who was prodding Mr...
Bizarre night topped by Jim Dolan, all smiles and giggles, popping into John Tortorella’s press conference. I think what happened is that Dolan was in Tortorella’s office and the coach asked him if he wanted to do the press conference instead of Torts. And Dolan took the dare and went down the hall and into the room with him, and when he saw the shock of the reporters he decided...
Was busy at post-practice today, working on Ryan Callahan story for the weekend.
But did have time to get Brad Richards’ angry reaction to that pile of carcillo Matt Cooke’s slew foot, and John Tortorella talking about Boston tomorrow.
Richards missed practice with a neck that “locked up” after the game, but said he had no symptoms of a concussion (he missed 10 games...
After yesterday's practice, John Tortorella talked the state of health on his defense corps, plans for when Michael Sauer and Steve Eminger are healthy enough to return to the lineup, Carl Hagelin's play, and what Ryan Callahan's true value to the Rangers is...
For the players thoughts on the Penguins, injuries and more, click the "Read More" tab below. ...
Had some technical difficulties with my story, and with my recorder.
So all I’ve got in the way of post-game audio is a short Dan Girardi/Henrik Lundqvist interview and the John Tortorella presser.
Dan Girardi/Henrik Lundqvist:
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